We are all high school students who are preparing for the Cambridge FCE exams in May 2007.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

One of the things that helps prepare students for the First Certificate interview (paper 5) is to record one with them. So, over the next month or so all the students will be videoed and we'll burn the interviews onto CDs which you can take them with you and see at home (we have only one PC available so watching in the lesson is not really an option). The benefits of doing this include:

1 A chance to spot an persistent errors in grammar, pronunciation etc.

2 They make sure that non - linguistic elements, such as body language, eye contact etc are appropriate.

3 The opportunity to see where you didn't understand something and how you dealt with it.

Mistakes students make in the interview

From my experience as an examiner I've noticed that poorly prepared students often make the same kind of mistakes in the interview. These include failing to make eye contact with the person they're talking to, whether it be the examiner or the other candidate. Also, they fail to ask for help when they don't understand something and so lose marks for not answering the question asked. Finally, as they have not been taught suitable repair techniques; unable to switch the Greek, they are at a loss to deal with a situation where they can't think of a suitable word or phrase and hence just wait in silence.


In the interview above both of you are great, confident speakers who will do well in the FCE exam in May 2007. We can see this in the way you answered the questions in Part 1 and Part 4 of the interview.

However, your performance in Part 2 and Part 3 could have been much better. The main problem was that you failed to answer the questions fully (part 2) or failed to understand them (part 3). This was, in part due to the fact that we haven't done much interview practice yet but also to the fact that you rushed to answer, even though you didn't really understand what was expected of you. Instead what you should have done is asked for the question to be repeated or checked with each other what you understood in part 3.

The good news is that these are minor problems which can be easily fixed through practice.Thanks once again for doing the interview. This will help the other students enormously.


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